In managing acute diarrhea in children, clinicians need to be aware that management based on “bowel rest” is outdated, and instead reinstitution of an appropriate diet has been associated with decreased stool volume and duration of diarrhea. In general, drug therapy is not indicated in managing diarrhea in children, although zinc supplementation and probiotic use show promise.

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Acute gastroenteritis is an extremely common illness among infants and children worldwide. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), acute diarrhea among children in the United States accounts for more than 1.5 million outpatient visits, 200,000 hospitalizations, and approximately 300 deaths per year. In developing countries, diarrhea is a common cause of mortality among children younger than age 5 years, with an estimated 2 million deaths each year. American children younger than 5 years have an average of two episodes of...

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